|PROPOSAL NUMBER:||03-T7.02-9787 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 030213)|
|RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE:||Non-Destructive Evaluation, Health Monitoring and Life Determination of Aerospace Vehicles/Systems|
|PROPOSAL TITLE:||Three Dimensional Volumetric Terahertz Scanning for Aerospace Non Destructive Evaluation|
|SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (SBC):||RESEARCH INSTITUTION (RI):|
|NAME:||Picotronix, Inc. dba Picometrix, Inc.||NAME:||William Marsh Rice University|
|ADDRESS:||2925 Boardwalk||ADDRESS:||6100 Main Street, MS-16|
|STATE/ZIP:||MI 48104-6765||STATE/ZIP:||TX 77251-1892|
|PHONE:||(734) 864-5611||PHONE:||(713) 348-5452|
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes
TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
In this Phase I STTR project, we propose to develop the critical innovations necessary for a high speed three dimesnional terahertz (THz) tomographic imaging system for aerospace non destructive evaluation (NDE) applcations. NASA and the Aerospace industry are beginning to utilize THz reflection imaging (for example, examining the space shuttle external tank sprayed on foam insulation for voids and disbonds). THz NDE imaging is widely applicable to composite resin, ceramic, plastic, natural, and other non-metallic materials. Current commercial equipment is capable of two dimensional raster scanning. The wider utility of THz NDE technology can be more fully exploited for the development of NASA and aerospace applications if the full potential for high speed three dimensional THz imaging is realized. The current state of the art equipment collects the THz waveform reflection from a very narrow depth range from a strongly reflective backing. The proposed innovations will increase the dynamic range of the THz waveform acquisition to allow collection of reflections from weaker interfaces, and will increase the window of high speed scanning of the THz waveform to allow three dimensional images to be reconstructed for objects many inches thick.
POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
There are many NASA-specific materials that could be imaged in three dimensions using the proposed terahertz imaging technique. These include: thermal protection systems (space shuttle silica tiles), sprayed on foam insulation, cork layers used in the boaster rockets and even carbon-carbon material (depending on our enhanced dynamic range). These materials are in systems in which the examination of new construction for flaws (voids, disbonds, inclusions, improper geometry and dimensions, and incomplete curing) may be critical. Likewise, as spacecraft and aircraft age it will be critical to periodically inspect some systems for damage or chemical degradation.
POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Both civilian and military industry should be able to utilize the terahertz non destructive evaluationfor many of the same applications as NASA. Beyond NASA?s applications, terahertz three dimensional imaging will find applications in the inspection of automobile dashboards, imaging behind walls and flooring surfaces in construction, inspection for delamination of printed circuit boards and tires as well as with manufactured parts such as tiling and paper products. For homeland security, it would possible to check for concealed weapons in clothing or shoes, and image through cardboard packages and containerized crates.